Great Basin Crescents

By Beth Smith

CCS crescentMy research at UNR focused on determining the purpose of small crescent shaped lithic tools known as crescents. Crescents were part of late Pleistocene/early Holocene Pre-Archaic sites throughout the Great Basin and California, and typically appeared in lithic assemblages containing stemmed and fluted points.

The research included evaluating the specific landscapes where crescents are found, particularly pluvial lake shores and prehistoric perennial water sources in the region, and statistically testing for differences between crescents occurring within differing landscapes. My continuing research goals are to gain a better understanding as to what conditions favored the introduction and use of crescents in the early hunter-gatherer's toolkit and ultimately, to determine their specific function.

CCS crescent

CCS crescents from Paleoindian sites in Nevada. Photos courtesy of Beth Smith.